Age of Sail

Age of Sail
Age of Sail from my Ship themed art series

Here’s a work I put together a few years ago.  I’m including it in my blog today as I’m working on adding a couple of my ship themed works to the gallery over the next couple of days….

A fleet of heavily armed ships emgerges from the fog. Led by the massive ship of the line HMS Victory, they create a forest of sails in the ocean that dissappears into the distance. Around them, the choppy sea roils as they crash through the waves towards the viewer. 

When I was growing up, my parents had a print of two ships shooting it out, and I always rather liked it. Marine warfare themed art is, of course, an extremely common subject. So I’ve seen quite a bit of it. I’ve experimented a bit by creating works featuring the HMS Victory, but this was the first time I’ve tried multiple ships.  

If you are interested in how I created this, check out my How It’s Made page, and for resources used such as software applications, go to my Resources page.

Prints and gifts featuring this image are available, just click on the Shop button

Shop

The Wooden Trail

The Wooden Trail
The Wooden Trail

Autumn leaves cover the surface of a board walk that cuts through a sun lit forest. It’s late and the afternoon and the low sun casts shadows across the hiking trail.  The small trees that line the path arch over the wooden walkway with golden leaves that they seem reluctant to surrender to the fall.

 
This is an impressionist styled photograph of a hiking area of the Chattahoochee National Recreation Area at Johnson Ferry in north Atlanta.  Taken in the fall of 2017 late on a Saturday afternoon, I’ve done a ton of post-processing using Topaz Studio with the Impression plugin to give it that Monet/Renoir look.
 

As always prints and gifts featuring this artwork are available.  If you’re interested, just click on the “Shop” button:

Shop

In Progress – “Staring Contest”

I have another wolf themed work in the pipeline.  My original compositional idea was based on a triangle.  My working title was “Trio” but when I saw how things were shaping up with the intense gaze of all three wolves on the viewer, I decided to change the name to “Staring Contest”.

At this point, I’ve got the rendering done, and now it goes to post-production.  This much fur is probably going to take a lot of time to spruce up in Photoshop.

If your interested in how I make art, check out my “How It’s Made” page, and if you want a list of some of the resources that I use, check out my Resource Guide.

Finally, I’ve also recently added a Quick Start Guide To Selling Art Online that gives you an overview of how I sell art (and, if you’re an artist, how you can too).

But, Is It Art?

 

Marcel Duchamp’s “Fountain” is perhaps the most famous example of a piece that engendered the question, “Is it art?”

Perhaps you think that your art is not good enough to sell, or worse, maybe you are worried that what you are making isn’t even considered art at all. You look at what you have made and ask yourself, “Is it art?”. Well, if you meant for it to be art, then the answer is “Yes”.

First off, you may not be exactly sure what is and what is not art. Modern art has made it rather confusing. Now, technology also confuses the issue. I can’t tell you how often I have people dismiss my art as “not art” simply because I use a computer to make it.

For most of the era of modern art, ever since the impressionists deviated from the rules of the art academy, the question has been asked “is it art?” The response usually comes from someone who has an agenda: a collector who wants to increase the value of the art they own, a gallery owner trying to eliminate the competition, a politician trying to cancel public funding for the arts, even from the artist trying to justify their own body of work. The answers from these people tend to boil down to an attempt to narrow the field. They are trying to increase the importance of what they CONSIDER to be art at the expense of everything else.

So what is art? It’s anything made by a person that is considered to be art by that person or any other person. I know, it’s a bit of a cyclical definition, but that’s the truth of it. Art is what we say it is. That is not to say, though, that everything is art. Naturally concurring things are just that – things that happen to be there, and the vast majority of things made by people are just for utilitarian purposes, things that no one considers to be art; therefore, such things are not art.

So, if you think you are making art – you are. Don’t let anyone tell you otherwise.

However, just because it is art does not necessarily mean that it is likely to sell well, but we’ll get more into that later.

Daniel

P.S.

Note that I do limit the definition to things made by people. You might argue that there are a few animals capable of creating art, but quite often such art is really the result of a human trainer. Also, in the future, there may well be machine intelligences making art, but at this time, art created by machines is really done so by a person directing or programming the machine.

P.P.S.

Like what you just read? Subscribe to my newsletter and receive more more of my articles and enjoy my art while you’re at it 😀

Rottenwood Creek

Rottenwood Creek
An impressionist photo of Rottenwood Creek

Here is an impressionist styled artwork depicting Rottenwood Creek winding through the woods of North Atlanta on a fall day. The creek empties into the Chattahoochee river only a few hundred yards behind the viewer.

This is from a photograph that I took in November of 2017. The area is actually a dense urban part of Atlanta right where I-75 and I-285 meet. However, the areas around the river have been kept natural. This is a popular fishing spot in the north Metro Atlanta area as well as the location of a rather new park. To the north of this area is Bull Sluice lake which is created by Morgan Falls dam.

I heavily post processed the photo using Topaz Studio with particular use of the Impression plugin to give it the Monet -like impressionist painting look.

It you want to know what Topaz Impression is, click here check out my overview of it

As always prints and gifts featuring this artwork are available.  If you’re interested, just click on the “Shop” button:

Shop

A Quick Look at Topaz Studio

 

Topaz Studio is the flagship product from Topaz Labs.  I’ve always like Topaz products and Studio is no exception.  It’s single job is to enhance digital images, and it does a great job at it.

 
The majority of my art, I create digitally using 3D rendering algorithms and digital painting programs.  For almost all of my art, I have a post production phase where I adjust the final images, working the color balance, contrast, saturation, etc.  For years, I used GIMP for this.  GIMP however is a fully featured image editing program that allows everything from painting to tweaking colors.  It does a bit of everything, but it’s not a specialist.  Plus, it’s got a steep learning curve. 
 
Later on, I discovered Topaz Adjust which was a tool specifically for enhancing images.  It was a plugin for Photoshop and did okay.  Rather than spending several hours in GIMP in post production, I could spend about half the time in Topaz adjust.  There results were pretty good, but not great. 
 
A shot showing the Studio enhanced version on the left overlaying the original photo on the right.

Now there is Topaz Studio.  I recently downloaded this stand-alone application to give it a try and I LOVE it.  It’s got a lot more tools than Adjust, is easier to use, and seems to handle memory better, being more responsive and less crashy.  Quite often just a single click on the “Basic Correction” gives me the perfect results.

 
Topaz Studio is FREE.  You have to create an account on the Topaz site to download it, but that’s it for most of the foundation level image filters.  You can however add plugins to Studio.  Many of Topaz’s products have been converted into plugins.  For instance, I almost immediately picked up the new plugins for Topaz Impression and Topaz Glow, two applications that have always impressed me.  The plugins might cost a bit, but for someone like me who sells prints of art created using Impression and Glow, I think they are well worth the cost.
 
 
Note: The link to get Studio is an affiliate link.  Though Topaz Studio is free, some of it’s premium plugins cost money.  If you click on this link then buy one of those plugins in the next 30 days, I get a small commission (at no additional cost to you).

In Progress – Untitled Wolf Image

Here’s a quick look at what I’m working on right now.

I haven’t come up with a title for this one yet, but I’ve been wanting to really work on wolves this year (one of my new years resolutions).  For this one I wanted some water reflection going on – a peaceful forest scene.

It’s probably not going to be done for a week or so, but I think I’ve got the basic layout right about where I want it.  Still working on getting the lighting just right.

Be the Artist

Okay, so you’ll see a picture of me in the first article posted in the blog. It’s part of my introduction, but it is also my first piece of advice: try not to be too anonymous. Art is not a typical product. Unlike toasters, televisions, or sofas, when people buy art, the person who made it can be as important to them as the art itself, if not more so. The Internet makes it easy to be anonymous, but for an artist, anonymity can be a turn off to potential collectors.

I’ve created numerous online galleries using names that hide my identity. Weather it was a company name, or a snappy online ID, my sales where always slow or non-existent. Once I started using my real identity though, the art sales started coming in much more often. Art buyers just seem reluctant to buy from someone like SuperArtist1973, but as “Daniel Eskridge, Artist” I become much more approachable.

Picture Not Availalbe
Customers will not by from an artist who looks like this

Now you could create a believable psuedonym, that is, a first and last name that could be that of a real person, but I believe that there’s more to to using your real identity. I think that it has something to do with that once you attach you real self to your art, you are much more concerned about putting your best foot forward. Your art suddenly becomes a matter of pride, not just profit. You real reputation is on the line.

So use your real name for your online presence. Also, let people see you. Use real pictures of yourself for your online profiles on sites where you sell your art. Let your customers see that you are an actual human being.

In progress – Paint Horses

I’m working on a new horse themed artwork right now.  It’s going to be a big one featuring several paint horses.  I’m just adding the finishing touches and should have it out in a day or so.  Naturally it will be available as prints as well as all my usual gift items.  Here are a few shot of pieces of it.

Be sure and check back in a few days, or if you want subscribe to my mailing list and get my weekly newsletter so you won’t miss it:

Subscribe